10/02/2012 03:16 pm ET Updated Dec 02, 2012

Mobile Takes Center Stage at Advertising Week 2012

If the programming during Advertising Week 2012 is any indication of what is important to marketers today, then mobile marketing is certainly top of mind. With not one, but three full days of events dedicated to mobile marketing and advertising, marketers are certainly going to hear a lot about mobile this week.

Mobile marketing is no longer a question of "if" but of "how." After an industry realignment in 2009-11, this year has been about setting the stage for significant growth. A key factor pushing mobile advertising toward the mainstream is that mobile web access is fast becoming more the norm than the exception. With roughly half the U.S. population using smartphones today, mobile advertising is accelerating.

Marketers can best use mobile to drive actionable behaviors. Incorporating mobile in the right media mix can be an effective extension of online advertising through the handset in the form of a relevant engagement.

For example, AT&T AdWorks announced this week a new mobile ad unit called, Click-to-Fill. A consumer clicks on a mobile display banner and if they are an AT&T subscriber, they receive an option to auto-populate their name, address, phone number and email address.

Once the Request For Information (RFI) fields are populated with the desired contact details, consumers then submit their information through the mobile device. It is an opt-in experience and AT&T is the first major carrier to provide such an offering designed to maximize conversion and response rates for advertisers. This is just one example of many new innovations that are starting to come around in mobile.

Mobile solutions like Click-to-Fill that are seamless, hassle-free and real-time are not only wins for consumers but also advertisers.

Mobile bridges the gap between the online and offline worlds, serving as a real-time, location-friendly, always-on connective tissue -- no wonder it is an exciting topic for advertisers today. The mobile device is the only device that's with consumers wherever they go.

Since consumers carry their phones with them everywhere, there is an opportunity for brands to connect with the right message, at the right time, for actionable and immediate behavior. This is most often used to drive to retail, or to drive a purchase (i.e., couponing). While this is still an emerging area within mobile marketing, it is one of the key areas of interest for advertisers today.

One area of mobile that is just starting to develop is around m-commerce. As a commerce facilitator, mobile is opening up a news sales channel and making transactions easier. And if progress in Europe and Asia is any indication, m-commerce is poised for significant growth in the US market over the next three years.

And for advertisers, it is the opportunity to reach interested consumers at the right time and place -- with the right message. Mobile marketing can be at all stages of the funnel from awareness, research, consideration and finally to purchase.